In an upcoming documentary, former Utah senator Orrin Hatch recalls that Joe Biden personally expressed to him that he did not believe Anita Hill during the contentious confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Hill accused Thomas of sexually harassing her while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education in the 1980s. The accusation because public knowledge when an interview between the FBI and Hill was leaked to the press just before the end of Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991.
Biden served as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time and has come under fire more recently for the way he chose to handle Hill’s accusations and subsequent testimony.
“Biden told me personally that he didn’t believe her,” Hatch said in a teaser clip for the documentary about Thomas’ confirmation, which will be released on Wednesday. “He [Biden] said, ‘I don’t know why she did this.’ I don’t mean to malign Joe but Joe told me he didn’t believe her, and there are some others who told me that too.”
Late Sen. Arlen Specter also recounted in his 2000 memoir Passion for Truth that Biden had told him that he didn’t believe Hill in a 1998 conversation.
Biden has since stated that he believed Hill’s accusations from the beginning and that he didn’t feel he treated her unfairly during her testimony which dominated national news for weeks.
“Not only didn’t I vote for Clarence Thomas, I believed her [Hill] from the beginning,” Biden said during an appearance on The View earlier this year. “I was against Clarence Thomas, I did everything in my power to defeat Clarence Thomas and he won by the smallest margin anyone ever won going on the Supreme Court.”
Thomas was confirmed narrowly by a 52–48 senate vote. Hill stated that her experience “set the stage” for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court last year.
Biden reportedly called Hill at the beginning of his presidential bid this year to offer an apology, but Hill did not feel that his gesture was strong enough to reconcile her experience. “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,'” Hill said at the time. “I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
[Previous coverage: Anita Hill says ‘of course’ she could vote for Joe Biden]
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